8/29/19 - How We Work, When We Work

Hello fellow scientists!

The most recent bargaining session was the first time the Union and Management met in person since Management’s lead negotiator Dan Forbes left to go eat pumpkins on a farm upstate. Just kidding, he’s still on campus through November to assure a ‘smooth transition,’ though he is prohibited from taking part in contract negotiations.

As a reminder, this session involved a new format for bargaining called Interest Based Bargaining (IBB). Thank you so much to all of you who submitted your stories to the bargaining team!

So What Happened on August 29?

New Faces

Though we have bid Dan a sad farewell, there were some new bargainers around the table at this session.

  • Paul Krissel Moderator for the IBB process
  • Jason Weyand (Union) Lawyer and author of the Union’s original petition to the ERB for recognition. The Union invited him to the IBB sessions for his expertise on the bargaining framework agreement.
  • Dr. Melissa Wong (Management) OHSU Professor of Cell, Developmental, and Cancer Biology  
  • Dr. Allison Fryer (Management) Dean of Graduate Studies for the School of Medicine
  • Alexander West (Management) OHSU HR rep and notetaker for the morning
  • Kathryn Heath (Management) - OHSU HR rep and notetaker for the afternoon

Facts and Takeaways

Due to the sensitive nature of IBB, very little of what happened on the 29th can be shared publicly. This is a huge bummer because man did they say some things. I can however share some basic facts about the session and some general takeaways.

  • Management gave the Union less than 24 hours notice of the above changes to their bargaining team.
  • Conversely, the Union let Management know several weeks in advance that Jason Weyand would be attending.
  • None of the four new Management team members attended the IBB training on August 1.
  • Interest Based Bargaining follows the following general format: 1) IBB process overview, 2) introductions/elephants in the room, 3) sharing of stories, 4) identifying interests 5) brainstorming possible solutions, 6) choosing solutions
  • This session covered steps 1-3 of the IBB process. The remaining steps will occur at today’s session.
  • Allison Fryer arrived 30 minutes late, missing the IBB process overview, introductions, and the beginning of the story telling.
  • The Union shared stories submitted by you, the bargaining unit, about your experiences as a graduate researcher at OHSU.
  • Some of these stories were difficult to hear, and overall the session was very emotional for people on both sides of the table.
  • The room was packed with graduate researchers supporting the bargaining team. I was one of them and I think I speak for all of us when I say it felt important to be there together in solidarity.  

I hope you can come today!

Action and Events

Bargaining Bargaining today is happening at the waterfront in RLSB 2S024 from 9:00 to 2:00. Next week (Sept 19) bargaining will return to the School of Nursing 116, also from 9:00 to 2:00. Come to show your support for the Union bargaining team and watch your contract form in real time! We formed a union because we are stronger together!

#Blue4GRU – It’s pretty clear by now that Management is hoping that if they draw out bargaining for as long as possible by cancelling sessions and giving no counter-proposals, support for the union will fade and they will get away with giving us a bad contract. We need help from all of you to show them that we’re in it for the long haul for our contract and we won’t back down. Every Thursday, wear your GRU shirt to show your support for the Union and the bargaining team. Post a selfie with the hashtag #blue4gru, and tag the union on Instagram (@ohsugradunion), Facebook (OHSU Graduate Researchers United) or Twitter (@ohsugradunion). Let’s make them hear us loud and clear: we are not going away!

If you still need a GRU shirt, reply to this email and we will get you one!

Contract Action Team (CAT) Meetings Now that the Union is virtually finished writing new contract proposals, CAT will be shifting focus to writing Graduate Researchers United’s constitution! This is the document that will guide the day-to-day function of the Union and we want input from everyone on subjects like executive board duties, executive board elections, stewards, bylaws for Union structure and governance, and much more! The best part? We don't have to make any compromises with Management in our constitution. As always, CAT meetings are Mondays, 5:00-6:00 in BRB 381, and dinner is provided.

GRU Files an Unfair Labor Practice

Graduate Researchers United filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) against OHSU on August 16. This is a legal notice to the Oregon Employment Relations Board (ERB) that the Union believes that OHSU is acting in bad faith in their bargaining.

Why did we file?

That Trolling Thing – OHSU Vice President of Human Resources Dan Forbes was the leader of the Management bargaining team negotiating with GRU. His and Patrick Frengle’s actions trolling Local 328 included pretending to be an employee under a fake name while dispensing doctored spreadsheets designed to make the Union look bad to their bargaining unit. While these particular actions were not directed at GRU, they still make it pretty clear that Dan Forbes was willing to illegally undermine Unions, making him a bad faith bargainer.

Surface Bargaining – Management has unilaterally cancelled more than half of the proposed bargaining sessions since we started negotiations in March. Out of all of the cancelled sessions, only one (July 4) was cancelled by both parties, and none were cancelled by the Union alone. Management has returned counter-proposals to fewer than one in three of the Union’s proposals. Of these documents, most were complete strike-throughs rather than substantive counter-proposals. Management has reached agreement with only one in nine Union proposals. These actions add up to Surface Bargaining, an illegal form of bad-faith bargaining.

What do we hope to get? What did the ERB say?

Essentially, we want Management to start bargaining in good faith. The ERB has the authority to compel Management to acknowledge wrongdoing and cease unfair labor practices.

GRU’s ULP was accepted by the ERB. They combined our ULP with a similar ULP from OHSU Local 328. The combined ULPs will be considered by the ERB at a hearing in a few weeks.

We hope to see you all today at the conclusion of Interest Based Bargaining!

Science and Solidarity,

-       Graduate Researchers United